HR and Comms are driving adoption in the digital workplace

  • Posted on May 31, 2016

The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Dirk Zekveld.

Technology continues to evolve the new digital employee experience, and it’s no longer just the job of the CEO or CIO to make decisions on how that fits into the workplace. It’s now up to HR and Corporate Communications teams to ensure that employees are using the digital tools on offer, realising results from them and, most importantly, spreading the word among those yet to be won over.

No More Set Menus

Above all, employees want choice in how they work. Offering them an à la carte menu of software, devices and services to pick and choose from is a good start; we’re used to so much variety in how we communicate and operate in our personal lives, we no longer tolerate the restrictive tech menu served to us daily at work.

But IT can’t put this new menu together on its own. Today, HR and Corporate Comms leaders are playing a prominent role in adoption by working with IT to bring in the right tools and processes, not only to improve workforce effectiveness, but to attract and retain the best talent.

Facilitate, Don’t Dictate

A key element to this approach is listening more to trigger discussion rather than inform. It’s the job of Corporate Comms to facilitate people speaking up and providing feedback via the right channels. Comms also needs to work with IT to ensure these processes and channels are in place. All employees can then help influence where the organisation goes in terms of its technologies and services; being able to predict which direction the digital workplace is going in is important to all stakeholders.

Avanade recently helped Philips launch its new personalised intranet, opting to shun the formal navigational structure. Employees can now decide how they interact with a tool that they essentially own. It’s for their benefit, so why should a certain way of using it be forced upon them?

I’m sure Philips will look at how employees choose to use its intranet, and can then make informed decisions on future tools and processes based on the results. Everyone will gain from this.

Empower Everyone

A digital employee experience is about making people feel empowered. Empowered employees are motivated and efficient, because they feel like they have influence within the business.

Let me give you an example. A US retail chain recently wanted to roll out Yammer among high-level executives, including store managers. But other employees heard about it and wanted to be involved too.

HR made the decision to give Yammer to every employee, and the business is now able to send company updates to everyone in real-time. Now, the entire workforce is connected and part of the conversation, and employees feel like they have a real stake in the organisation; they can see that the business doesn’t end within the four walls of the store they work in, and as a result they feel empowered. What’s better than an engaged workforce full of people who want to stay at your company?

What’s It Worth?

There’s real business value in engaging employees through a digital employee experience. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that organisations that are most engaged have 22% higher profitability. A digital workplace with a great digital employee experience not only attracts the best talent, it motivates existing employees, which leads to increased company loyalty. And it’s up to more than just the CEO and CIO to set this in motion.

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